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Parkersburg South girls return with plenty of firepower ahead of 2022 soccer season

Parkersburg South girls soccer coach Ron Bucholtz enters his 11th season with the program. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

PARKERSBURG — Unlike in recent years when opponents could gameplan for one individual, Parkersburg South coach Ron Bucholtz feels as many as 11 to 12 girls are legitimate offensive threats for the upcoming high school girls soccer season.

Samara Nunn is the only individual from last year’s roster who graduated. She performed at such a high level and closed out her career with 87 goals and was recognized this past summer as one of 24 female soccer players nationwide on the 2021-22 All-USA Today Soccer Association Girls Soccer Team.

Nunn moved on to the next level and is a member of the NCAA Division I Alcorn State University women’s soccer team.

Even with her absence, the bar stays at the same prestigious level for Parkersburg South – a program which advanced to the regional finals last season.

“This year’s team plays differently – already we are moving the ball better because we don’t have that go-to target up front who can blow past a defense and make things happen on their own,” Bucholtz said. “We are playing and passing better than last year because these girls are playing more as a team.

“All the other team are probably relieved. Yes, it’s nice to have that weapon, but we don’t. Now you have more weapons compared to last year. Some of these girls have gotten off more shots in our two scrimmages than they may have taken all of last season.”

With only one member lost to graduation, South figured to have an assortment of depth returning. However, several girls opted out and did not return to the program for various reasons.

The entire roster consists of 18 girls. As a result, coach Bucholtz had to scrap the junior varsity schedule.

“We will be competitive – if we can keep them healthy, we can be a contender,” Bucholtz said. “There is no reason this group can’t. So far, this is a happy camp and the cohesiveness is a lot better. They are having fun on the bus, having fun in practice and working hard. We have to get better and we are working on those things.”

South, which opens at Linsly tonight, competed in a Soccer-Rama and played a full match at Winfield during the preseason. At the Soccer-Rama, they faced three schools for 40-minute halves apiece. Counting Winfield in the equation, Bucholtz figures his girls allowed in the neighborhood of 10 shots in 200 minutes of soccer.

“It went well at the Soccer-Rama, we more or less controlled the tempo every single game and outplayed our opponent,” Bucholtz said. “We struggled to find the net – I think we hit the net once in about 40 shots. The good news, we had girls getting into the right positions and that’s half the battle.

“We were getting them in the right places so they can score. If they are not even getting where they need to be then you have some work to do. I like what I have seen. We are playing well.

“If you have a copy of our roster, everybody will be a factor. We don’t have as many players this year, so everybody is going to have to step up and play multiple positions. We will have to be creative to find playing time for some. We lost a little depth, but this group we have can play at a high level.”

Buchholz counts as many as six schools who should be in the mix when all is said and done, including his own Patriot crew. The list includes Morgantown, Bridgeport, Wheeling Park, Hurricane and George Washington.

Linsly is not in the WVSSAC field, but figures to put a strong product on the field. The Patriots also return to a showcase on Labor Day at River View High School in Warsaw, Ohio for a fourth consecutive year. Their scheduled opponent, Bexley High School, advanced to the Division II semifinals last season.

South finished 18-3-2 after losing to Cabell Midland 1-0 in the Class AAA regional finals last season.

“On any given day we can beat any of those teams – and on any given day they could potentially beat us,” Bucholtz said. “Obviously, we have been one of the top teams the last couple of years, and we thought after last year Samara Nunn would be the only varsity player we would lose to graduation. Then some things happened and three or four others opted not to return for any number of reasons.

“We will be strong. We just need to figure out the offensive end of the field and finishing. We are getting chances and passing well. Everybody who knows the sport knows finishing is an artform.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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